Understanding the Unified Communications Market in Latin America

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1 Understanding the Unified Communications Market in Latin America Introduction Market Definition and Evolution Stage in Latin America Latin America is a reality. Seemed unstable and unreliable in the past, the region has overcome fears from external investors, its own population and especially from global information and communication technologies (ICT) companies that have currently turned toward it. Most of the region s economical growth has been driven by the maturity of other developed markets, such as the United States and Europe. In reality, Latin America is becoming more attractive for global IT companies, who began to perceive the increasing willingness to pay, that local population has developed during the last few years. Currently, the region is investing high amounts in new solutions, either being in the telecommunications area or IT solutions. New technologies are being adopted and the rate in which that is happening does not seem to be slowing down at all Entering the enterprise telephony scope, besides the large TDM legacy in the region, almost all countries have started to see an increasing IP penetration in almost all verticals, some more than others. Countries such as Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Brazil have seemed great IP pure penetration. Even though the region might be taking a slow step going toward hybrid solutions as a natural evolvement from TDM, it is interesting to see how fast it is doing so. The trend already has its first adopters. The Government is pushing technology investments along with financial companies who have always been great investors in advanced solutions and currently, the services side is also becoming more prevalent in IP news. Similar to these verticals, the healthcare and manufacturing companies are not wasting any time in adopting new solutions In Latin America, Unified Communications (UC) is still in the beginning of the end-user awareness curve. However, as vendors plan their marketing strategies, the landscape is taking its basic format. New product releases, marketing campaigns, and road shows are just the beginning. UC innovate how people communicate. It can be applied in a variety of enterprises environment facilitating business and cutting telephony costs, especially through IP telephony.

2 Unified Communications are being adopted all around the world. Besides its initial stage in Latam, not one player would doubt its strong upcoming penetration for the next years. While in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific the concept is more evolved, in Latin America it is gaining traction and should have large growth rates for the next years. Most of the players in the region are the same global competitors for the enterprise telephony solutions market. Either in the hardware or software scope, providers of UC solutions include Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Avaya, and Alcatel-Lucent, to mention a few. In 2008, most of these players have been introducing a large range of UC products to the market. However, as these solutions came out, so did the confusion created by the way they came in. Many players promote UC as they see it which, combined with different types of solutions being launched every month, makes it hard to have a unique concept for the end user. Therefore, in order to establish a consolidated definition of what UC are, what applications they must have, Frost & Sullivan has globally defined it as the integration of PC and telephony presence, voice, chat, , conferencing and unified messaging. UC applications are meant to simplify communications for the end user by making it easy to click to communicate. It is expected that these UC dashboards could and will serve as the default communications application for knowledge workers of the future, much as serves that role today. A UC application must contain the following capabilities (although IT may elect to turn them on or off as needed): PC-based presence (online or offline) Telephony presence (on the phone or available for a call) Point-to-point voice calling Chat (i.e., instant messaging) Audio conferencing Web collaboration (application, file, and desktop sharing) PC-based video Find-me/Follow-me capabilities (for call routing) Unified messaging A UC application may include the following: Social networking capabilities Wikis/blogs Mobile client APIs for easy integration with other applications

3 Global and Local Trends In more developed markets as well as in Latin America, UC is gaining more awareness among end users. One of the main benefits that UC can bring to its customer involves the cost cutting with IP telephony, followed by different applications that can improve time of response, efficiency, and productivity for all companies in every segment. It is expected that these solutions and applications will increase their penetration while the level of competition among most companies from every vertical rises. As challenges and rivalry increases, more companies will need to improve their level of efficiency, their response to the end user, and so on. UC applications can bring that benefit already in the short term. One major global trend is the virtualization of the workplace. With mobility, real-time collaboration tools, PC-based presence, routing, and so on, companies will tend to be more virtual, which implies more employees located in different places will be able to work as team and have the same or improved efficiency they have at present. Besides, with UC applications, people will be able to balance its home life with work, either from home or small remote offices. Another trend lies on the maximization of the return that every single employee can generate for the company. The more expensive this employee costs to the company, the more tools and options will have to be given to him (or her). With UC applications, in its possessions, targeted employees will be able to be more efficient. And that is especially important to understand where UC applications will penetrate in the short term, usually high level employees or employees with critical tasks for the company. Moreover, not only in Latin America but throughout the world, companies are starting to understand the concept of valuing internal knowledge of employees, that implies, the more that the company (through UC applications) can provide employees with the means to better use their knowledge for the company, the better these solutions will penetrate the market. In Latin America, UC solutions are been adopted in its majority by medium to large enterprises. Usually for new technologies, the first adopters are the ones with more capacity of investments, read large enterprises. However, globally, also small companies are beginning to demand these solutions, basically driven by cost reduction. In Latin America some vendors of UC solutions are already focusing on the small sized part of the demand, which especially in Latin America, represents a great share of the market revenues and production of goods and services.

4 Another important concept reigning recently around Unified Communications is the interoperability between participants solutions. That means that a UC software solution from Microsoft will have to work with Nortel s networks solutions and so on. In order for this technology to grow, vendors currently have to evolve these partnerships to help customers understand the benefits. Finally, another trend, especially in a nascent stage in Latin America, is related to the ease of adoption of new technologies by young students and workers. In Latin America, new technologies are being deployed at schools, colleges, and universities, through public and private investments, creating a new era of young citizens with capacity to adopt new technology much faster than before. This significantly helps UC applications evolvement in the region, as most of these future employees can understand how the solutions work and use them with better efficiency. In fact, most of these young adopters have been using different set of applications such as web collaboration tools and so on. It is expected that the UC market will grow at high rates in the next coming years in Latin America. Among many reasons, the economic growth and political stability of the region will leverage the investments in ICT in general, and specifically in enterprise telephony development. Unified Communications Vendors tools to drive penetration Interoperability Creating Awareness Facts that will drive adoption in Latin America Showing the benefits Efficiency and Productivity requests Increasing competitive level Political stability and economical growth Growing SMB segment Young Techonological Generation Increasing investments In ICT Fast communication and improved effciency Integration with other applications What do end-users expect from the solution? Mobility Maximization of employees return Cost-cutting Improve knowledge sharing within the company

5 Importance of Solution Applicable to Various Business and Technology Changes in Latin America Latin America is finally having a considerable growth in terms of next generation networks. IP telephony is a reality and in 2007, IP pure lines have accounted for significant growth rates for all sub regions. Even though UC can still work with traditional legacy telephony, the point lays on the cost saving and investment maximization through applying UC with IP networks. UC can play a vital role depending on each vertical necessity. Looking at all the benefits one can gain, a few applications appear as first step for an end-user to improve its business. For instance, financial institutions such as banks, management assets and so on, usually prefer a solution which could provide benefits such as fast-time of response, cutting costs from telephony calls, and others. On the other hand, companies with branches located in different places around the region can prefer cutting costs with telephony calls, improving information sending with data and voice converged and might want to enjoy some type of PC-based presence. Some companies, depending on their business models, might even prefer videoconferencing features and so on. There is, however, a very important point to consider when offering UC solutions in Latin America. Most of the UC products such as instant messaging (IM), are being used for a long time. One important point a vendor should consider is that, in Latin America, the customer has already some knowledge of how these features work. The issue relies on how relevant at this stage is the combination of all these features and the way they are offered in order to improve businesses processes, thus facilitating companies communications. The question remains when or if the end user will learn to use all the tools as one way to improve business. And the answer is not on the short term, at least in a broader way. Even though some larger corporations, usually more focused on IT, will start to implement UC solutions in the appropriate manner, it is going to take some time and patience from the vendor to show how UC works and what UC can do, but not in a basic way, showing what features it has, but moreover, showing how this technology has changed the trend over the corporate communications line. It is expected that in the long term, especially through more penetration of these services, more companies will understand the concept and will be guided by competitors that implement the solutions first. Still, UC solutions remain a promising concept expected to also achieve high growth rates in Latin America.

6 Local Market versus Other Regions Compared to European and North American countries, Latin American countries still have a long way to go. Primarily, the main difference is in the stage of development of each region with regards to technology evolvement. For instance, inside the enterprise telephony solutions scope, while most of the countries from Europe and North America are already moving toward a complete transition to IP equipment, Latin America still accounts for a great TDM installed base. Though this trend has been changing during the past couple of years, a significant amount of work remains to be done. Another point is how end users from Latin America react compared to those from other regions. Latin American companies usually are more skeptical about large investments in solutions unless a substantial ROI is ensured already in the short term In fact, most companies in the region work more in reactive than a proactive way while adopting new technologies. Moreover, Latin American end users usually have a cultural belief in Capex over Opex, which is one of the most important things to be considered when comparing regional markets. Latin American end users need something more concrete that proves itself to be a money maker in the short term, and that is also one of the main barriers for solutions such as UC to penetrate the Latin American market. Drivers and Restraints Rank Driver 1-2 Years 3-4 Years 5-6 Years 1 Growing economy and increasing political stability in most countries in the region High High High High growth in the enterprise telephony solutions 2 High High High market IP telephony is increasing penetration and pushing 3 High High High Unified Communications adoption 4 Reliability in IP telephony Medium High High 5 Young generation is more suitable to use and learn Medium High High new technologies 6 Increasing level of efficiency request from companies Medium High High in the market 7 Increasing usage of UC applications inside managed Low Medium High telephony services

7 Rank Restraint 1-2 Years 3-4 Years 5-6 Years 1 High cost of solutions for most players in the region High Medium Medium related to high investments in new infrastructure 2 Lack of interoperability among all vendors solutions might slow perception over return from investments Medium Medium Low made on applications 3 Capex vs Opex culture in most countries in the region High Medium Medium 4 Launching of various UC solutions with different meanings might confuse the end user and slow High Medium Low adoption 5 Cultural issues such as reliability in legacy Medium Low Low equipments Potential Market Overview UC is still in its initial stage in Latin America. However, this market can be analyzed by comparing it with similar and related markets. By understanding those markets evolution path and acknowledging which countries seems to be more developed in terms of adoption level, participants in the market could at least have some perspective of where UC solutions are going to heat up in the region. For instance, when looking at the enterprise telephony solutions market in Latin America (comprised by TDM, converged PBX, pure IP PBX lines and IP phones) one would see four bigger markets in regards to IP penetration. Mexico and Chile have become early IP adopters and are reaching mature stages in relation to converged PBX solutions, at some point having a faster transition to new pure IP telephony infrastructure. Brazil is another country to consider, which from 2006 to 2007 has had more than 50 percent of growth for IP pure solutions. Finally, Colombia is another country with high investments from the Government in IT solutions including IP telephony. The country has shown great development in ET solutions and many players are already focusing the Andean country. In addition, the total Latin America IP pure solutions market has grown more than 40 percent from 2006 and That at least shows the region s high investments in new solutions and proves its willingness to implement features that can help cost cutting and efficiency improvement. However, it is also important to mention that even though IP telephony can drive UC, the large TDM installed base is still a point to consider. There is also the faster upcoming migration of TDM lines to IP lines. In 2006, for example, the legacy technology represented almost 40 percent in total lines sales. In 2007, that participation had decreased in almost 10 percent.

8 In 2007, the total Latin America enterprise telephony (ET) solutions market had reached more than $778 million and it is estimated to grow over $1 billion in less than four years. Even though the ET market might be very promising, related to that, UC applications can still be very expensive for most end users, and large enterprises along with multinationals are usually the first adopters of these solutions. Reasons for that include budget capacity, competitive factors, requests from headquarters, and so on. However, when analyzing the demand, it has to be kept in mind that the region accounts for a large number of small and medium businesses. For SMBs, UC solutions can still be too expensive, mostly for the cost of the solution itself, plus the telephony investments one might have to make in order to have full capacity from it. The opportunity for UC adoption (besides the services side) relies on the fact that most SMBs will not need as many end points with UC application as a large company, meaning that, for some, it might still be an affordable investment. As for countries, at the initial stage of UC, the ones with more concentration of new contracts such as Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina, will be the ones with higher economical development, IT investments and higher competitive levels. In the future, growing economies such as Peru can also be an opportunity. Countries from the Caribbean and Central America such as Panama and Costa Rica are also expected to be target as these are located close to the United States and enjoy the new technologies coming from there. Potential opportunities for UC in the main Latin American countries might be explored in the following segments or verticals. Brazil: In Latin America, and especially in this country, financial companies dictate the demand for new telephony solutions. Banks, corporate asset management companies and so on have the need to cut mainly telephony costs and also need to have tools to increase efficiency in time of response. As most financial negotiations are done very fast, these institutions need to transfer and receive information, make calls all the time and have employees available quickly and thus it is a high window of opportunity for UC solutions. Mobility is highly appreciated in this sector as well. Among other verticals in the country, logistics, contact centers, and carriers are other interesting end users. Colombia: The country has been showing high levels of IT investments recently. Not surprisingly, it has been the country with the highest IT investment rate in Latin America. The Government is an interesting client for UC, as most of the investments have been coming from it. Another trend in the country involves its high investments on new highly developed work force, especially engineers which can drive the search and development of new technologies.

9 Chile: A major concern UC solutions vendors have to consider when entering the market is that in this country carriers manage, almost completely, the telephony requirements area. In addition, Chilean corporate segment is increasing its competition level, which can drive the adoption of UC solutions. Finally, the country is one of the top three IP telephony adopters in Latin America, which facilitates UC penetration. Mexico: Mexico, along with Chile also shows one of the greatest rates of IP penetration. Especially strong in the country is the Government that has been implementing new IT solutions around the country. Airports are just an example of the implementation. Other promising segment for UC solutions in the country is the contact centers. Argentina: In Argentina the opportunity also lies initially on the financial and retail businesses. The country is going through a renovation of its IT infrastructure, which could be an interesting factor for vendors offering new solutions. In addition, Argentina can be an attractive market for managed telephony and IT solutions combined, off course, with new UC applications. Others: In general, for all the countries above and the rest of Latin America, the pattern is likely to maintain, which means, basically the same verticals are responsible for adopting UC applications at initial stages. It has been noticed that the main opportunities will lie on the financial area, government, retail, manufacturing and in the long term in healthcare. The SMBs Segment Taking a closer look to this segment, it is important to understand how UC can improve communication for small and medium businesses. It is expected that these companies will not, at the first stage, adopt all the applications that UC can provide, but more of a modular offer, which means, the use of one or two applications instead of the whole package. Especially in Latin America, one opportunity for vendors of UC solutions will raise with managed and hosted services, which include solutions such as hosted telephony, managing of PBX, IP Centrex and so on. For example, especially for SMBs, IP Centrex services can, along with UC, cost less than the whole investment in infrastructure these companies would have to make. As these solutions are likely to be priced less compared to a full next-generation networks (NGN) investment, hosted services can still be expensive for most SMBs, especially since in this segment most of the companies are really small, having less than 20 employees. However, in the medium term it could be a very interesting opportunity for most vendors, especially through its partnerships with carriers around Latin America.

10 The Contact Center Segment Special attention should be given to the contact center segment. Especially in Brazil, where the vertical is very strong, UC can be a very interesting option to incorporate to the business. The concept of first-call resolution can be cited as an example. In the contact center business, time of response, being able to reach employees, and getting information anywhere is critical. UC applications can improve contact centers processes and better yet, improve end-user satisfaction. Even though many companies from this segment might state they already have very well-defined metrics and UC could confuse that, as these defined metrics are already in usage, it could be much simpler to calculate the benefits of a UC application inside the contact center environment. In 2007, in Latin America, the contact center market had reached $450 million, with expectation to grow at a CAGR of 7.7 percent until How to Overcome Challenges for Unified Communications? There are several challenges participants in this market will have to face in order to promote and efficiently introduce UC solutions in Latin America. Overall, the region will pose the following major challenges: Demystifying UC: Perhaps the biggest challenge for UC in Latin America is the concept itself. A lot has been said in the news, either through vendors, other institutions, and so on. However, as solutions came along, not many end users have the knowledge of what UC is and what it can do, what applications it has, and so on. The challenge remains in the process of showing to the end user what UC is. A few participants in the market have already started to develop strategies, and some put those to work, such as road shows, presentations to business partners, media promotion, and so on. Showing the Benefits of the Solution (Creating Awareness): More important than explaining UC, is proving through concrete case studies or any marketing tool what benefits one can gain from deploying it. Latin America s Opex vs Capex factor: End users in Latin America are usually skeptical about investments in new technologies. Usually, they prefer solutions that can prove the return over their investments in the short term. Even though many participants in the market are investing on changing that through promotion of how UC can improve a various set of business process, that is not likely to change in the short term and these vendors need to think about it when promoting new UC applications, especially through the promotion of tools that can cut costs and improve revenues in a short period of time.

11 Investments: There are two aspects that involve the investments an end user would have to make in order to have UC solutions. The first is obtaining licenses which are not cheap and depending on the demand and number of seats that a company requires, it could be a high deployment cost. That, combined with the region s skeptical vision toward solutions that might not show cost cutting in the short term, could generate a great barrier for larger penetration of UC. The second point is related to the investments in infrastructure a company would have to make to have all the benefits from UC. Some vendors are already taking care of that by offering solutions with aggregated value. Most companies in the region are still looking at the investments made in the past and might be very reluctant to make new ones unless it ensures higher returns. Interoperability of the Solutions within Vendors: This is the key for higher deployment of UC solutions in Latin America. Even though most vendors are already aware of the need to have its solutions working with each other, there is still a possibility of one solution not working flawlessly with another. In order to have the market adopting UC solutions and expand the reach of its solutions, vendors, at this stage of technology introduction, have to interoperate with each other. Proven Quality: Since end users in Latin America are not very confident about UC solutions yet, in addition to the stage in which the solutions are in the region, vendors will have to come with high-quality products and especially with easy-touse features with fast time of response when it comes to installation, maintenance and management. The more that the end user has to do it on his own at this initial stage, the more difficult it would be to sell increased number of solutions, as this could bring uncertainty to the market toward the new technology. Transition from a Simple Solution to a Business Changing Tool: Finally, another great challenge for vendors has to do with the solution and the end user working together. Vendors will have to not just sell the solutions as a simple package, but also show how this can be implemented in the client s process. The client will have to understand and be assisted to effectively implement the UC tools as a business processes shift, to better enjoy its benefits. As it will be discussed later on, UC solutions, looked separately are not so innovative. The innovation, on the contrary is in how they work together and that is a major challenge.

12 Supply Side Analysis The Competitive Environment The UC market has two different types of competitors, being those the software providers and network providers. Among many of the networking providers, the most important at this initial stage are Cisco, Avaya, Nortel, Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens, and NEC. Even though most of these participants also have the software interface, in Latin America, the majority of the employee desktops at present are dominated by Microsoft and IBM. That is why it is hard for networkers to penetrate the market with their end-to-end solution. At some point, this situation brings the question of how effectively these vendors will be able to offer complete solutions to end users. Initially, the most popular step for vendors has been the integration with the software providers. SIP has been the key word for that integration. This first move also poses an additional question, that whether the network providers will try to penetrate the software market, currently dominated by IBM and Microsoft. For now, they try to interoperate. Along with interoperability these vendors also know that this is the right time for them to position themselves in Latin America. While participants such as Avaya and Nortel have been launching products aiming the small and medium segments, other players are still reluctant about fully entering the new UC market. However promising and interesting UC solutions might be, Latin America can be very challenging to most vendors when it comes to new solutions. Not surprisingly, other vendors of UC solutions are still investing in legacy equipment, with aggregated value instead of the full offering of UC. A major reason for that is, some countries in the region (moreover the SMBs segment) are still adopting low-cost legacy equipment and solutions and while telephony vendors, in special, see profit coming from TDM, these sales will continue. It is also important now to recall that UC solutions can work with legacy equipment and as long as this can be cheaper than a full investment in IP telephony infrastructure, SMBs, for example, can go for it. At this point, other alternative solutions appear and will be discussed in the business models strategies below.

13 How to Deliver UC in Latin America? As UC solutions enter Latin America, participants are positioning themselves in terms of strategies in offering, channels, and partnerships. First of all, UC, as mentioned before, is still a developing market in the world and moreover in Latin America. It is not expected that most end users will, by themselves, increase the demand dramatically. On the other hand, as participants invest in promoting the technology, some strategies are being developed in order to increase adoption of UC applications. For instance, many players have been offering UC solutions as an aggregated value to telephony requests. For example, together with IP telephony equipment the vendor can offer UC to a client. So far, in Latin America, the pure request for Unified Communications is not large and almost incipient. In addition, it is not expected that every end user will have all the UC applications running at once in their business. That brings the concept of licenses, which means that, the client buys UC and as the demand comes, it can opt to turn on the new application and pay for it. At the initial stage, target clients for UC solutions will look for applications that can be a priority for their type of business more than having all the applications and not using them. Besides, as mentioned before, the challenge in these implementations is not so much the client purchasing UC applications, but using those as a way to improve its businesses processes. Another factor that participants have to think about for the near future is related to new open sources technologies. Once integrated with UC, open source solutions can be cheaper for the end user, even after including the cost of deployment and administration. In addition, a trend has shown itself recently with traditional telephony vendors buying open source technology providers, for example, Pingtel, an open source PBX based on SIP provider, being bought by Nortel. Channels With regards to channels, both indirect and direct models are being used in Latin America. In that sense, direct sales are mainly concentrated in large clients, being the government and the enterprise segment. On the other hand, for SMBs and other institutions, the majority of the vendors in Latin America have a strategy with business partners. In that sense, even in the large segment, these partners are also required. Indirect sales also bring the discussion of how easy to implement UC solutions from these vendors will be. In fact, a few of them have been putting into the market UC products that can be easier deployed, broadening the number of partners that can do it

14 Cisco is a company that predominantly uses the indirect model, through business partners. Alcatel-Lucent mainly uses this model as well. Participants such as Avaya, Siemens, and NEC still prefer the usage of a dual model through partners and directly, either for products or services deployment. Software vendors such as IBM and Microsoft also prefer sales through partners. As UC applications are still expensive to deploy, end users might prefer some type of solution that can be cheaper and easier to use. Small and medium companies might prefer, for example, UC applications through hosted services. Hence, vendors, besides partnerships with integrators and service providers have currently started to develop relationship with carriers who are also included in the hosted services radar, especially with IP Centrex and so on. For instance, Chile is a great example of a country dominated by carriers. There, Telefonica, Telmex, and Entel dictate the telephony market. Conclusions It is undeniable that UC is the future for companies communications. Along with cost cutting features and applications that can benefit companies processes, the technology will change how business in general will behave. As mentioned in this analysis, UC will improve communication among employees, provide mobility, and improve business capacity for companies. That will affect how services are delivered, by reducing prices, improving offers, in certain aspect increasing every country s economy and providing many other benefits for the end users. Especially in Latin America, competitors are currently positioning themselves in the Unified Communications market. Either for SMBs or large enterprises, the initial idea is to create awareness and show how UC solutions can improve the end client processes. Even though adoption has not fully expanded, it is expected that these solutions will increase usage in the near future. Financial end users have been the focus of UC applications. However, many other verticals have started to call for attention in the market, such as the government, manufacturing, retail, logistics, and healthcare. It is important to have a strategy of promotion defined for each vertical, as not all of them have the same requirements for UC solutions. This, however, does not mean that at the same time, promoting the UC as the one solution that can help any company in the world should be dropped. At present, the major aim for competitors is interoperating. Especially for the region, and for the technology stage, providing options to the clients is extremely important. IBM and Microsoft have been the entrance point for other network vendors. Forming partnerships, improving UC s physical reach, and investing in specific products for each segment are very important. Especially in Latin America, vendors will have to be very flexible toward SMBs.

15 In the short term, adoption of UC solutions will be in larger enterprises and the government segments. However, in the long term SMBs will also enjoy and lead the demand for Unified Communications. Meanwhile, hosted services combined with UC solutions appear a very attractive offer for them. In addition, it is relevant to mention that, as countries in Latin America present high GDP growth, economies rising will pull most companies that will have to focus on improve their efficiency and cut costs in order to remain competitive, one of the interesting entrance points for any UC advertisement.

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